After all the planning, the fusing, the cutting, the placing, the applique, the fussing and stressing---it's finished! The lovely quilt I created for my secret partner for the Doll Quilt Swap 9 has been carefully packaged in its Priority Mail tube and shipped off to its new home (wipes tear from eye) along with some extra goodness. What did I include in the package? Well, hopefully it's all stuff my partner will like (otherwise I'll feel bad that I spent the extra on postage instead of eating the vanilla Goldfish crackers like I was tempted to do). I included some metal embellishments (one says "cherish" and the other "love"), a pin cushion, pin toppers, a mug rug and before mentioned vanilla Goldfish crackers, which, btw, if you haven't tried you absolutely must. Really, I mean it. Go, right now and get some--then come back and finish view the world's most awesome quiltie. (Don't worry, I'll wait.)
Well you don't really need a closer look at the Goldfish crackers, just try some (and get the chocolate ones too while you're at it). But here's the little pincushion I made. One point didn't line up right, argh! Otherwise, a perfectly cute little 4 inch pincushion made with some Hoffman Meadow Dance fabric (my partner loves green) and some Kona Coal, another partner fav. I found the most perfect matching button in my vintage button collection--doesn't it look like Kona Ash and Coal! And while I am often loathe to part with my buttons (it's an obsession really), it was just too perfectly coordinated with the pincushion and quilt to not use it.
Here's the pretty back--some of the Westminster Fibers fabric that I used on the quilt back. (Won from Bearpaw in a blog giveaway! That fabric has been from New York to the UK to Oregon and now back to the East coast. The fabric is more traveled than I am!) Another vintage button--the photo really doesn't show the color right it's actually closer to the fabric pink in color. I'll tell you, sewing those buttons on so that the center indented was a big pain in the neck, but the results are worth it.
My partner, without knowing that she was my partner, mentioned that she was so busy that she'd regrettably had to turn down being in the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap. (Horrors!) We can't have a sad little mug with no rug (hmm, that sounds a bit Dr. Seuss-ish). So, of course, being the completely sneaky partner I am--I made her one. And, of course, I matched it to her quilt. I did use different fabrics for the birds just so it wasn't totally the same. I did a little free-motion drawing with the thread to make branches and leaves (some got cut off when the binding was added, but I like the effect.
Here's the back. You can see how the applique stitching and thread drawing create the picture on the back.
I needed to come up with something else that was fun to add to the goodie pile and then I saw pin toppers. Adorable customized sewing pins with cute things at the top--like the old hat pin toppers, only much, much smaller. I traded one of my sisters some seamstress work for her to create me some to give to my partner. Sure, I could make these, but why--she's already a genius talent with fimo clay (she makes miniature dragons and such), so why not let the expert do it. Of course, she could not find her little tools, packed away somewhere, but being the artist that she is she adapted with a straight edge razor and a bamboo skewer. (What can I say, the girl's got skills.) My sis took a look at the quilt and then made these three pin toppers--how cool is that?! These are made using glass head sewing pins that are only 1.5 inches long--we're talkin' uber tiny toppers! Note the pearlescent nature of the toppers, so fabulous!
And now, what you've all been waiting for...drumroll please... may I present... Leafy Treetops, my Doll Quilt Swap 9 creation! (And the crowd goes wild! Okay, so there's no crowd. If there was a crowd though, it would be going wild right now.)
Just for a quick recap on fabric: the background is Kona Ash, tree is Kona Coal and binding is Kona Black. Sorry, I have no idea what the fabrics for the birds and house are, the selvedge is long gone. I appliqued the edge and echo quilted the entire thing (took forever, but with these results, I can say it was definitely worth it) using Sulky premium 40 wt. rayon thread in Light Silver (number 1236) for the top and a Mettler thread (color 623) on the back which blended perfectly with the Kona Coal. The rayon added a little sheen which glints here and there as the light hits it which I love. This combo also quilted beautifully without any problems.
Where'd I get the name? From a children's song that I learned as a small child (luckily, you don't have to hear me sing it) that goes "In the leafy treetops, the birds sing good morning. They're first to see the sun. They must tell everyone! In the leafy treetops, the birds sing good morning."
Some of you have asked if I drew the design. Sadly, no. My drawing skills are fairly limited unless you're talking drafting or perspective or a garden landscape plan. It would take me far to long to draw this tree. I used three different vector images which I combined and altered to get what I wanted. You can find these kinds of images by going to websites that sell royalty free stock images (such as istockphotos or fotolia or shutterstock) or you might find some by Google searches. Just be sure and get permission if its from a private source and follow all copyright laws.
Check out that quilting! This was not done free-motion despite the appearance. (I so wish my free-motion quilting was that good. Nope, I'm at the same skill level as kindergarteners doing division. So sad.) I used my applique foot and meticulously (and slowly) went around and around and around. So, see! You don't have to have advanced quilting skills to get great results on a project. Just be willing to put the necessary time in and you can have something wonderful! Then, keep working on those skills.
My younger sister thought the lines reminded her of those Japanese sand gardens with the rocks--you know that have the lines rippling outward from each rock. Yeah, now you're feelin' the Zen. Okay, last quilting shot.
And finally, the back of the back of this quilt. I love the texture the quilting created on the back. It reminds me of those antique whole cloth quilts--except those where completely hand stitched which is a completely other level of skill that still amazes me. Guess I'd be more accomplished if I'd turn off the tv and stay off Flickr...not happening.
I know you've all been wondering who got this little work of insane art. The big reveal: Dolores Goodson, also known as DeeRoo G! Yep, this little quiltie has traveled completely across the country to Lovetsville, Virginia. I thought the little snails were cute--and fitting as I took so long to make this. They're from a vintage embroidery pattern that I colored in with colored pencils and then outlined with a Pima pen.
One last look at the quilt before I move on to the next project. Sigh. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. Enjoy your new home Leafy Treetops!
Update (I thought you all would enjoy reading my partner's emailed response too):
I'm feeling faint.....I mean....I have no words! Hold on...some are coming to me....OH MY FREAKING GOSH!!! Shayla...I am tearing up here while I type this....wait...let me get a tissue. Sniff.
Ok...I'm composed. I really,really don't know how to express how much this means to me. This is definitely going into the livingroom WHEREVER I live!! You lady are a truely talented person....Counting the ways....
1. Colors, perfection
2. Stitching, amazing
3. Subject, spot on
4. Continution of the theme...mug rug, mini pins...brilliant
5. Pincushion...in green and grey...my too favorite colors...guess I'm an open book that you read perfectly!!;)
6. I LOVE goldfish!
7. The label, another mini piece of art
8. The back, splendiferous
9. Fabrics, Now that's what I'm talking about!
10. Bragging rights....you got them and I'm going to continue them!!!
Yep....time to get another tissue....now my husband seriously has to get our house finished so I can put this in a place of honor....ALWAYS!
Thank you sooooo much Shayla....I'm even keeping the card!
ps...I'm going to blog about this and use my 10 ways of loving this package!;)